Google, the search giant, is charged in the high court of the UK for the alleged secretively tracking and collecting of the sensitive information of 4.4M iPhone users in the United Kingdom.
Richard Lloyd claims Google has bypassed the privacy setting of safari browser of iPhone devices during August 2011 to February 2012 of categorizing people for the purpose of advertising.
At the opening of hearing on Monday, attorneys for the campaign group “Google You Owe Us” by Lloyd told the high court data gathered by Google like physical and mental health, race, sexuality, political interest, financial, social class, location date and shopping patterns.
The representative of Lloyd, Hugh Tomlinson QC, said data was then accumulated and users were categorized into various groups like “current affairs enthusiasts” or “football lovers” for ads targeting.
Tomlinson said the information was collected via “clandestine tracking and collation” of search browser on the iPhone called the “Safari Workaround”. It is an activity that was revealed by a researcher in 2012.
Tomlinson said: Google has already been charged for $39.5M to settle the claim in the US for the same practice. Proceeding ahead, “I believe that what Google has done was just against the law”, said Lloyd. This practice has affected millions of individuals in Wales and England.
The campaign group anticipates winning at least £1bn as a compensation for around 434M users. The court filing shows the campaign could be hoping as much as £3.2bn as compensation. If successful than each claimant could get £750.
Director of Communication, Tom Price, Google, UK, said, “We give utmost importance to the privacy and security of our users. The case is related to the events happened 6 years ago and this had been addressed at that time.
He further said, “We believe it has no ground and should be terminated. We’ve filed proofs in support of that view and hoping to make our point in Court.”